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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: The many layers of March

By Stacy Turner

Charles Dickens must have visited Cleveland when he described, “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

March is one of those in-between months, where you’re not really sure what season it is on any given day.

Although the same can be said of much of the weather in northeast Ohio during any given month -- especially this winter, it seems extremely true each March.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether is comes in like a lion or a lamb, or whether the famous rodent to our east saw his shadow last month or not.  Even so, in March our thoughts turn to springtime and warmer weather.  Rain boots are on standby for puddle jumping, even though the snow boots can’t be retired just yet. Tomorrow may bring the last chance to make one final snow person or take the last sled down a nearby hill for one more winter thrill.  But the resulting snowmelt will create puddles that thrill young kids and bring new life to muddy garden beds that have been dormant through the long, cold winter.

The sun shines brightly, convincing daffodils to sprout, only to be covered a few days later in yet another blanket of snow.  The majority of winter seems to have been this way, with Mother Nature equal parts playful and petulant.  Now that March has arrived, however, we’re ready to fast-forward to spring.  Now that I’ve got middle and high schoolers, puddle jumping is passé, and winter coats are optional even on the coldest of days. At this stage, instead of enjoying Dr. Seuss parties with the "Cat in the Hat" or helping to engineer the most effective leprechaun-catching traps, March means added stress over tough coursework and the start of an exciting spring sports schedule.

For spring sports, track athletes are encouraged to ‘dress for the weather’ for practice after school each day.  They hit the track in weather-appropriate running tights and fleece hoodies with gloves and hats when necessary.  Unfortunately, their spring uniforms consist of flimsy little tank tops and shorts, which must be worn for meets, no matter what the weather. 

Spectators can dress for the weather as they huddle together through rain, sleet or snow in fleece jackets, rain slickers, or gloves, hats, and puffy coats -- sometimes all on the same day. 

Poor athletes must wear their team-sanctioned uniforms, but are mercifully allowed to layer spandex tights and long sleeve tops under to try and keep their muscles warm while waiting for their individual events to take place.  It brings to mind Halloween costumes we would intentionally purchase a size larger to accommodate the base layers that are often required for our fickle fall festivities.  It’s often said that New Englanders are wicked tough; it’s a little-known fact that northeast Ohioans really know how to layer.

Luckily, as the calendar progresses, each new day brings us closer to actual spring-feeling weather.  The sun warms as we uncover our pale, formerly over-bundled skin and soaks into our cold-weary bones.  Here and there, surprisingly warm weather allows both parents and kids the opportunity to remove some layers and revel in the warmth of the sun.

Track meets become more enjoyable when the weather improves; kids laugh and cavort while parents relax and converse.  As the season progresses, it’s harder to remember the frozen start to the season, as we pack extra Gatorade, adjust our sunglasses, and keep our cameras at hand for the best shots of our athletes shining moments.

Just remember, as base layers are retired and winter skin is exposed, don’t forget to layer on some sunscreen.